Complex anal fistula remains a challenge for colorectal surgeon.

Anal fistula is a common proctological problem to both patient and physician throughout surgical history. Several surgical and sphincter-sparing approaches have been described for the management of fistula-in-ano, aimed to minimize the recurrence and to preserve the continence. We aimed to systematically review the available studies relating to the surgical management of anal fistulas.
A Medline search was performed using the PubMed, Ovid, Embase, and Cochrane databases to identify articles reporting on fistula-in-ano management, aimed to find out the current techniques available, the new technologies, and their effectiveness in order to delineate a gold standard treatment algorithm.
The management of low anal fistulas is usually straightforward, given that fistulotomy is quite effective, and if the fistula has been properly evaluated, continence disturbance is minimal. On the contrary, high complex fistulas are challenging, because cure and continence are directly competing priorities.
Conventional fistula surgery techniques have their place, but new technologies such as fibrin glues, dermal collagen injection, the anal fistula plugs, and stem cell injection offer alternative approaches whose long-term efficacy needs to be further clarified in large long-term randomized trials.
AuthorsF Cadeddu, F Salis, G Lisi, I Ciangola, G Milito
JournalInternational journal of colorectal disease (Int J Colorectal Dis) Vol. 30 Issue 5 Pg. 595-603 (May 2015) ISSN: 1432-1262 [Electronic] Germany
PMID25566951 (Publication Type: Journal Article)

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